Staff profile

Professor Christopher Sansom

Professor of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Theme Lead, Zero Carbon

Christopher Sansom looking up at the solar power water tank - for Zero Carbon


Innovation and Research





I am a Professor of CSP (Concentrating Solar Power), and Lead the Zero Carbon Theme, at the University of Derby. After my PhD, I worked in research labs for Plessey, GEC, Marconi, and PerkinElmer, before entering Academia with Cranfield University where I remain a Visiting Professor. I have also been an Open University (OU) course tutor and Associate Lecturer for over 35 years. I am the sole UK representative on the EERA-Joint Committee on CSP which steers EU research in CSP and heads up the Line-Focus research group with the JC-CSP. I am a member of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). I have considerable teaching experience, and I am a former MSc Course Director and lecturer on low carbon and renewable energy topics.

Research interests

My current CSP research includes concentrating solar power for electrical power generation, solar collector characterisation and ageing evaluation, polymer films for solar power plant heliostats and line-focus solar collectors, linear Fresnel community-scale CSP, heliostat design and manufacture, solar thermal heating and cooling, solar-driven desalination and water purification, thermal storage, and nanostructured thermoelectric devices for energy harvesting. Within the broader “zero-carbon” field I am active in the decarbonisation of UK power generation (renewable energy, energy storage in particular), low carbon built environment and smart cities, carbon capture and storage, low carbon transport, as well as the environmental and social impact of zero-carbon technologies on local communities.

Membership of professional bodies


I also have a Black-belt six-sigma qualification from Warwick University and hold the National Certificate in Occupational Health & Safety. I am also a member of the International Association of Bookkeepers (MIAB)

Recent conferences

SolarPACES is the main annual conference and exhibition for CSP academics, researchers, and commercial delegates. I have been closely involved with SolarPACES since 2010

 Conference Scientific Committee

Conference Session Chair

Conference paper reviewer

International experience

I have many international links through my research on Concentrating Solar Power over the last fifteen years. 

Recent collaborations include work with Egypt, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, India, Algeria, Pakistan, Palestine, and Nigeria. 

In the media

Press releases:

Solar power and desalination to be efficiently linked for first time in new project”, 27 July 2021 

“NEOM Adopts Pioneering Solar Dome Technology for Sustainable Desalination Project”, 29 January 2020 

Students Research Cleaning Solar Collectors Without Water

Electricity and water in the desert thanks to Cranfield research”, 23 April 2018. This relates to the FP7 funded MATS project and the opening of the 1MWe CSP plant in Egypt

Magazine contributions:

The Times “Sunshine and thin air could be turned into water for the world, 3 August 2021 (online: subscription access only)

Solar Daily “Solar power and desalination to be efficiently linked for first time in new project”, 3 August 2021

One News Page “Solar power and desalination to be efficiently linked for first time in new project”, 3 August 2021

The Environment "Sun, Salt and Saudi Megacities" - The magazine for the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) – December 2020/January 2021

BRINK online “Using the Sun to Convert Seawater Into Drinking Water”, 5 March 2020

Construction Week Online, “NEOM inks deal to construct first 'solar dome' tech desalination plant”, January 2020 

The Energyst, “Decarbonising heat: Phase change materials crack thermal storage”, October 2019

 The Energyst, “Emerging technologies: the answer to decarbonising heat?” Page 24, May 2018

International Aqua Feed, “Development of Solar Microalgae Feeds”, April 2018

Water Briefing, “Key role for Cranfield University research in €22m concentrated solar power and desalination plant in Egypt”, 25 April 2018

Energy Live News, “UK University contributes to concentrated solar in Egypt”, 24 April 2018

HelioCSP, “Cranfield University contributes to concentrated solar power in Egypt”, 23 April 2018

Recent publications

C Sansom, K Patchigolla, K Jonnalagadda and P King; “Design of a novel CSP/MED desalination system”; AIP Conference Proceedings 2445, 140012 (2022)

S Ochella, M Shafiee, and C Sansom; “Adopting machine learning and condition monitoring P-F curves in determining and prioritizing high-value assets for life extension”; Expert Systems with Applications; Volume 176, 114897, August 2021

P King, C Sansom, H Almond, M Karim, and L Rodriguez-Idiazabal; “Simulation of the effect of dust barriers on the reduction of mirror soiling in CSP plants”; AIP Conference Proceedings 2303, 210004 (2020); Published Online: 11 December 2020

M Karim, H Almond, C Sansom, N Ozkan, P Mirzania, and P King; “The effect of concentrated solar power plants on the socio-economic and livelihood assets of the local community and environment”; AIP Conference Proceedings 2303, 150010 (2020); Published Online: 11 December 2020

Z Hussaini, P King, and C Sansom; “Design and configuration of solar thermal multi-tower field layout”; AIP Conference Proceedings 2303, 030021 (2020); Published Online: 11 December 2020

D Bourdon, F Wolfertstetter, A Fernández-García, C Sansom, I Azpitarte, S Bouaddi, G Perez, A Maccari, P van Nijnatten, E Surquin, and F Perrotta; “Saving water on concentrated solar power plants: The holistic approach of the WASCOP project”; AIP Conference Proceedings 2303, 210002 (2020); Published Online: 11 December 2020

A Bennett, C Sansom, P King, K Gobey, and H Merkle; “Cleaning concentrating solar power mirrors without water”; AIP Conference Proceedings 2303, 210001 (2020); Published Online: 11 December 2020

H Abdulkarim, C Sansom, K Patchigolla, and P King; “Statistical and economic analysis of solar radiation and climatic data for the development of solar PV system in Nigeria”; Energy Reports Vol 6, p309-316, (2020)

A Alghamdi , M Shafiee , C Sansom, P Hart, A Encinas-Oropesa, “A life-cycle cost analysis model to support investment decision-making in concentrated solar power projects”, Energies 13, 1553 (2020)

Z Hussaini, P King, C Sansom, “Numerical Simulation and Design of Multi-Tower Concentrated Solar Power Field”, Sustainability 12(6), 2402 (2020)

P King, C Sansom, P Comley, “Photogrammetry for Concentrating Solar Collector Form Measurement, Validated Using a Coordinate Measuring Machine”, Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 1, (2020), Article number 196

C Sansom, X Tonnellier, P King, H Almond, “Concentrating Fresnel lens technology for thermal desalination”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2126, 230003 (2019); Published Online: 26 July 2019

H Almond, X Tonnellier, C Sansom, M Pearce, N Sengar, “The design and modification of a parabolic trough system for the hydrothermal liquefaction of waste”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2126, 120001 (2019); Published Online: 26 July 2019

P King, C Sansom, H Almond, H Abdulkarim, “An experimental investigation into factors affecting the soiling of glass mirrors”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2126, 160004 (2019); Published Online: 26 July 2019

M Pearce, X Tonnellier, N Sengar, C Sansom, “Fuel from hydrothermal liquefaction of waste in solar parabolic troughs”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2126, 180015 (2019); Published Online: 26 July 2019

F Wolfertstetter, S Wilbert, F Terhag, N Hanrieder, A Fernandez-Garcia, C Sansom, P King, L Zarzalejo, A Ghennioui, “Modelling the soiling rate: Dependencies on meteorological parameters”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2126, 190018 (2019); Published Online: 26 July 2019

E.M. Jakubczyk, A. Mapp, C.C. Chung, C.L. Sansom, J.L. Jones, R.A. Dorey, “Enhancing thermoelectric properties of nano NaCo2O4 ceramics through Na pretreatment”. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Volume 788, Pages 91-101 (June 2019)

S Bouaddi, A Fernández-García , C Sansom, J Ander Sarasua, F Wolfertstetter, H Bouzekri, F Sutter, I Azpitarte; “A review of conventional and innovative-sustainable methods for cleaning reflectors in Concentrating Solar Power plants”, Sustainability (2018), 10, 3937   

M Tawfik, X Tonnellier, and C Sansom, “Light source selection for a solar simulator for thermal applications: a review”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (2018)

C Sansom, P King, A Fernández-García, H Almond, T Kayani, and H Boujjat; “The Design of Dust Barriers to Reduce Collector Mirror Soiling in CSP Plants”, AIP Conference Proceedings 2033, 030017 (2018); Published by the American Institute of Physics